Lately the sky has been clear, the temps have been hot, and A-man has been begging me to take him hiking. So this morning I dragged him out of bed pretty early and we drove out I-90 to climb up to Mason Lake. A-man's only other prior hikes were to Rattlesnake Ledge and to Cherry Creek Falls. He is growing fast and has an abundance of energy so I thought he might be capable of this 6 mile round trip hike including over 2500 feet of elevation gain. I had previously taken this same trail up to Bandera Mountain as well as to Mason Lake and Mt. Defiance. It's one of my favorites.
My prior reports contain better descriptions of this trail. Today it was dry and hot but in fantastic shape. The pictures below show a strong and willing A-man man making his way up past the Bandera/Mason split to the high point before descending into the lake basin. Mt. Rainier was out in all its glory. No matter how many pictures I take of Mt. Rainier I always feel the need to take more.
We arrived at Mason Lake at 10:15 AM after about 2 1/2 hours of hiking. We saw multiple people who had camped the prior evening as we made our way around the lake to look for a nice quiet spot for a snack. We also decided to dip our feet into the very cold lake water while we relaxed and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and well deserved grub. It was a very nice father/son moment to be quite honest.
After about 45 minutes at the lake we packed up and headed for home. At the high point of the trail we found a very nice fellow admiring Rainier who offered to take our picture. Thanks stranger! Beyond that point A-man continued to do very well until he petered out about a mile from the car. Luckily for him that last bit is all down hill and he was able to power through to the end with no more complaining than one might expect from a tired 7 year old.
The picture to the right is from the forest road beyond the trailhead parking area. Cars were lined for a long way and the path was very narrow in spots. If one were driving a big pickup like an F-150 then I'm not sure they would have fit through. My much smaller vehicle barely did. I don't believe I've ever seen so many cars at this trailhead.